We have waited all this time for Cheltenham and hopefully we crack on next week. The weather has been relenting but there is no doubt about it going ahead ground wise which is currently soft. The short term forecast looks set fair with a few showers you never know we could end up starting the Festival with ‘Good’ somewhere in the going description.
So here goes – as in previous years I am going for the ‘rapid fire’ technique as we have three days to fit in:
I love the favourite Shiskin in the Supreme Novices’, save on Fiddlerontheroof if the ground is soft.
On to the Arkle and I fancy Cash Back to reverse form with Notebook, at 7/1 he is a knocking each way bet.
The next is the Ultima and Who Dares Wins looks well handicapped, save on Kildisart who needs decent ground but has a big race in him.
Then the Champion Hurdle and what a minefield! I am taking a flyer here with Call Me Lord each way at 25/1.
Benie Des Dieux will win the Mares if she runs, if not Honeysuckle will.
For the NTC we have a couple of outsiders; Beakstown and At The Acorn.
In the last Battleoverdoyen will be interesting if he runs.
In the Ballymore Envoi Allen looks one of the week’s bankers, with a saver on Fiddlerontheroof if he takes this route.
The RSA looks fascinating and the more I look at it the more I like Minella Indo, he is a Festival course and distance winner and looks sure to make a bold show.
The Coral Cup is impossible, however Sempo could give you a run for your money, support each way at 14/1.
Then on to the Queen Mother Champion Chase and what looks to be one of the races of the week – Altior, Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil. Defi all day long for me, Barry Geraghty will stalk his rivals and pounce.
Next is the Cross Country and I will be watching Tiger Roll romp home from the bar celebrating with a pint of the black stuff having found the winner of the previous race.
As for the Boodles back two each way, Repetitio and A Wave Of The Sea. I normally leg it before the last, the Champion Bumper, but I will be staying to watch Appreciate It win by half the track. He is short, but deserves to be and is the banker of the week in my book.
Legs getting weary, but adrenalin is kicking in and we start with the Marsh Novices’ Chase. I like a Mullins horse here, Easy Game, each way at 11/1.
Then it gets harder with the Pertemps, but I’m in the Olly Murphy camp with Skandiburg, a course and distance winner last time and has been laid out for the race. For a bit of value look at Jatiluwih, a huge improver all season and ridden by David Maxwell, he owns and rides his horses, is a great supporter of the sport and there will be no more popular winner or excited jockey.
I love the Ryanair and Frodon and Bryony Frost will try to back up last year’s win, why shouldn’t they? but I have a feeling A Plus Tard could be very good indeed and will spoil the party.
Time to breathe and watch Paisley Park win another Stayers Hurdle, don’t bother looking anywhere else.
Then onto the Brown Advisory and bring on Simply The Betts, he won over C&D last time, I rate him, but save on Count Meribel if the ground is decent.
Next up we have the Daylesford Mares Hurdle, Willie Mullins has won all 4 runnings of the race and Lamarckise fits the bill this time.
Finally the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir and Bob Mahler has the same profile as Warren Greatrex’s previous winner Missed Approach, so we will go with him and the JP McManus owned No Comment.
That’s three of the four days covered you will have wait for next week for the Gold Cup winner and if one or two of the above come in, I could be buying the next one – have a great Cheltenham!
STOP PRESS..Cheltenham..Friday 5.30 Front View